Irish language legislation cleared in House of Lords

Irish language legislation cleared in House of Lords

IRISH LANGUAGE legislation has cleared the House of Lords at Westminster.

The legalisation, which also includes Ulster Scots legislation, was introduced in May following long-standing commitments from the government.

It will give both languages official status, allow the use of Irish in courts and see the appointment of Irish and Ulster Scots/Ulster British commissioners.

It will also allow the secretary of state to intervene in areas relating to the decisions of commissioners, if power sharing is not restored.

It was initially part of the 2020 New Decade, New Approach deal that led to the restorations of Stormont's institutions.

It was agreed earlier this year that the legislation would be progressed in the absence of agreement at Stormont, ad it will not proceed to the House of Commons in autumn.

The legislation had been delayed for months with the government initially agreeing to pass the bill at Westminster last autumn, to resolve a Stormont split on the issue.

Speaking in the House of Lords last week, UK minister for Northern Ireland Lord Caine said it was “a matter of regret” the issue was being dealt with in Westminster, referencing the current stand-off by the DUP that it will not enter power sharing until its issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol are resolved.

“I remember first-hand the period from 2017 to 2020 when these issues paralysed politics in Northern Ireland and led to a prolonged lack of functioning devolved government.

“It was a particularly frustrating period and I am very sorry that we are going through a similar period now, which I hope will be much shorter-lived than last time.”